It's Hard to Believe That Your Shampoo May Be Harming You
Today the average person unwittingly comes in contact with many elements in their daily activity that can lead to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. Although we know certain elements are not good for us, we don't become alarmed because we think our exposure is minimal. And we most certainly don't think of things used daily like personal care items as harmful.
Unless someone works in a chemical plant or experiences some major chemical spill or accident, most people feel safe when it comes to harmful or toxic items. Unfortunately, there may be a false sense of comfort in knowing that there are no chemical plants located in your town.
Today, you don't need a chemical plant in your neighborhood to have an issue. It's a given that the average person is up close and personal with a number of harmful chemicals on a daily basis. The harmful chemicals in our daily environment can be a ticking time bomb, waiting to go off.
In this article, we'll reveal some "unusual suspects" when it comes to harmful health consequences, for the common products we use each day. We'll also provide some alternatives to give you options that will help you reduce the amount of exposure.
You may be as surprised as I was to learn how many harmful chemicals are in our homes, cars and workplaces. And yes, your shampoo can make you sick, making this health issue a potential silent killer.
Diabetes, the Epidemic
According to the American Diabetes Association, every 23 seconds someone is diagnosed with diabetes. A diagnosis means you are much more likely to go blind, lose a limb, or die of a heart attack or stroke. Millions more are are at a high risk of developing the disease because of condition called pre-diabetes.
With pre-diabetes, blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. The millions of people who have pre-diabetes may not have a diagnosis or even know that they have something that can lead to diabetes. This makes it very important to get checked on a regular basis.
The current obesity epidemic has been attributed to the rise in diabetes, because being overweight is a primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Others risk factors include inactivity, family history, age, smoking, pre-diabetes, and gestational diabetes.
However, another culprit has been flying under the radar as a contributor that may lead to diabetes. Research has shown that people with modest levels of a group of chemicals called "phthalates" in their blood, are twice as likely to develop diabetes. The thing that makes this concerning is that phthalates are everywhere, in practically everything the average person does on a daily basis.
Phthalates? What Are They and How Do They Lead to Diabetes?
Phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates), are a family of chemicals used in manufacturing, giving plastics properties that make them soft. They help to make plastics flexible and "clingy" to various surfaces. They are found in many personal care items, household products and in food packaging.
When used in food packaging, phthalates from the plastic can leach into food. You're likely inhaling phthalates when you get into a new car. People love experiencing the "new car smell" that so much that air freshner manufacturers have made it into a scent that you can purchase online. Phthalates are used in the manufacture of plastic car interiors and steering wheels and new car owners inhale the chemicals for the first months of owning a new car.
The fragrance you experience when you remove the packaging from products made of plastic like shower curtains, toys, etc. is likely from phthalates that give products a very distinct aroma.
These chemicals are also used in common personal care products to soften plastics and make fragrances last longer. The use of chemicals like phthalates are common in products like perfumes, nail polish, hairsprays, make up, tanning products, shampoos, and deodorants.
They are also used in household items like toys, candles, electronics (yes, PCs), shower curtains, PVC flooring, even plastic tubing, bags and catheters used in medial devices.
Phthalates can make their way into the bloodstream when they are inhaled, ingested (eaten) and absorbed into the skin. They can lead to diabetes in a number of ways. For example, when foods are packaged in phthalate containing flexible plastics the chemical can leach into the food. When these foods are consumed, the chemicals enter into the bloodstream causing glucose levels to rise. When phthalate containing shampoos, creams and lotions, come in contact with skin they are absorbed, causing glucose levels to rise. When high levels of glucose are sustained over time this pattern can cause insulin resistance which in turn can lead to diabetes.
Arent We Protected?
European governments have restricted the use of phthalates in some baby products, cosmetics, and plastics designed to come into contact with food. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has reviewed the same evidence viewed by the EU but felt it was incomplete and left the decision up to manufacturers.
Many companies have voluntarily removed phthalates from their products. This trend will likely continue as the demand for phthalate-free products become more prevalent. Companies have also been known to label products as “phthalate-free” to make it easy to distinguish these products from those that are riddled with these chemicals.
Who would think that something as simple as coming in contact with vinyl flooring or playing on the floor would result in a rise in glucose levels? Who would think that your food could be contaminated by plastic packaging?
Studies Show the Link Between Phthalates and Diabetes in the Elderly
Researchers from the University of Uppsala, Sweden, analyzed data from over 1,000 people over the age of 70. After taking into account other factors known to cause the disease, they found that those who had higher levels of phthalates in their blood were more likely to develop insulin resistance, which sets the stage for diabetes.
The researchers couldn’t pinpoint where the phthalates might have come from, as most countries don’t require them to be listed on labels, but a spokesperson from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics noted that phthalates are found in 70 percent of fragrance-containing personal care products—everything from perfume and cologne to shampoos and deodorants.
In a recent article from Science Daily, researchers from the University of Adelaide in South Australia, determined that chemicals found in everyday plastic materials are linked to cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure in men.
Phalate Exposure in Infant Care Products
Out of concern over the increasing diabetes rate in youth worldwide and laboratory studies suggesting the possibility of a role for phthalates in insulin resistance, the researchers in one study, Urinary Phthalates and Increased Insulin Resistance in Adolescents, looked for an association between signs of phthalate exposure in the urine and insulin resistance among adolescents.
Exposure can occur when phthalate containing toys, pacifiers, nipples, rattles and teethers, are given to infants and toddlers. This is concerning because of infant's hand to mouth behaviors. Products like baby shampoos, baby lotions, and baby powder, etc. are also common culprits. Something as simple as regular crawling and playing on vinyl flooring can also be an area of increased exposure.
What Does This Mean?
An increased awareness of phthalates and how they can affect your blood glucose level is the first step in improving your exposure. Taking steps to actually change your environment is the second, very important step. For example, taking a look at the things in your home, car and work environment that might contain phthalates and finding alternatives, can reduce your exposure. Take stock of the things you can change or eliminate to make it safer for you and your family.
Here are a few other changes you can make to limit the exposure you have to phthalates in your home:
- Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables versus frozen food in plastic packaging.
- Make your own personal care products using essential oil recipes, or use fragrance free alternatives.
- Use glass containers versus plastic to store and microwave food.
- Read labels when it comes to the products you use.
Common Names for Phthalates:
DBP (dibutyl phthalate)
DNOP (di-n-octyl phthalate)
DiNP (diisononyl phthalate)
EP (diethyl phthalate)
BBzP (benzyl butyl phthalate)
DEHP (di 2-ethylhexl phthalate)
DiDP (diisodecyl phthalate)
DnHP (di-n-hexyl phthalate).
- Removing affected products that come into food or water contact. For example checking bottled water and food packed in flexible plastic like cold cuts, and other meats.
- Use cloth shower curtains versus plastic. Use untreated fibers like hemp, linen (dries quickly) or cotton (dries slowly but is washable). Also look for nylon or polyester shower curtains, which are quick to dry and are durable. If you're concerned about mold, choose nylon, which is naturally mold resistant.
- Don't give your child polymer clays to play with. Use recipes like the ones found here to make your own modeling clay.
- PVC is used in a wide range of medical devices, such as intravenous (IV) tubing, blood bags, and catheters. Ask your healthcare provider to use phthalate-free tubing and medical bags especially for procedures such as blood transfusions and dialysis.
- Avoid vinyl or PVC clothing like rain gear, boots, hats, ponchos etc.
- Avoid any toys, personal care items, and clothing designed for infants and children that have phthalates in them.
- A great way to recognize plastic toys, clothing, bottles, food and beverage storage containers and food wrap that may contain phthalate compounds is to look at the universal recycling symbol that is usually molded into the plastic on the bottom of the product. Avoid products with the number 3 inside the symbol as shown below:
- Choose products with the numbers 1, 2, 4 or 5 that have these symbols when possible:
- Plastics labeled #3 may leach phthalates. Number 7 plastics may leach BPA and #6 may leach styrene.
Because phthalates are so prevalent, you may never be completely free of them. But becoming a more active, informed consumer is half the battle when it comes to limiting exposure to harmful chemicals. Follow the tips above, do your research and read labels before purchasing plastics and personal care items.
If you're not sure about whether a product contains phthalates contact the manufacturer. If you can’t get information from the manufacturer, look for alternatives.
If consumers discontinue purchases of products made with phthalates, the demand for products made with phthalates will decline and manufacturers will have to come up with safer alternatives. In the meantime following the steps above may help your family avoid or better manage exposure and diseases attributed to these chemicals.
Regularly Detox and Cleanse
Rid your body of harmful chemicals and toxins with regular elimination. Cleanse and detox with the herbal tea shown in the picture, made of 9 essential herbs. Drink one 8 oz. cup hot or cold, twice a day.
Try a one week or month's supply of our Iaso Detox Tea to cleanse your upper and lower intestines, ridding the body of toxins and parasites.